The Bookish Week in Review (10/04/2016)

Here are some of the interesting bookish news pieces I’ve read this week. I would love to see what everyone else has found interesting this week, so leave a link in the comments below!

1. Mysterious author Elena Ferrante has received for her first international prize nomination for the The Booker International

2. Let this be a warning to all of you – don’t upset the adult Harry Potter fans by organizing another under 18’s only event. A Perth event had to be postponed because of the outrage from the adult Harry Potter community. I guess some wizards were just excited at the prospect of spending an evening outside of their Cupboard Under The Stairs.

3. One adult Harry Potter fan (I’m assuming, because what kind of child has this kind of money?) is now the lucky owner of the chair J. K. Rowling used while she wrote the first two books.

4. Remember when you couldn’t go into an op-shop or second hand book shop without finding at least one shelf committed to the Twilight series? Well now all of those second hand copies of Fifty Shades of Grey are becoming quite the burden. One shop even made a sex dungeon fort out of their donated copies.

5. I’ve spoken about jumping on the adult colouring book bandwagon on this blog before – apparently the whole world is jumping on and now there’s a shortage of colouring pencils.

6. Imagine having one of Shakespeare’s First Folio’s just casually sitting in your private library? Another rare find has been discovered on the Scottish Island of Bute.

7. I’m saddened everytime I hear about any library closing. It’s great that the big authors are trying to help out the wonderful people at Carnegie Library.

8. The world needs more Lena Dunham’s in it – she’s just landed her own imprint “Lenny” at Random House.

 

Have a great week ahead and happy reading!

Review: “The Yellow Wallpaper” – Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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As I was scrolling through the all-powerful spreadsheet for the “1001 Books To Read Before You Die” list, I decided that I wanted to go for one of the shorter stories. Not just to chalk up more numbers, but to also see what was so great about such a short piece of fiction for it to end up on such a list.

I downloaded this free version and read “The Yellow Wallpaper” on my Kindle on the way to work yesterday morning.

My mind was blown.

It’s such a short story, I would really be doing you a disservice if I were to put a summary here. I cannot recommend this story to you enough. This is a must read.

I will even go to an extraordinary length and say that I have found a new favourite author. This is like the time I first discovered Kate Chopin and “The Story of an Hour” or read Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”. Seriously, sometimes it gives me goose bumps when I think about how many fantastic female writers there have been throughout history. I feel another reading challenge about to rear its head.

“The Yellow Wallpaper” was right up my alley. Considering the time period that this story was first published (1892), it must have challenged a lot of reader’s thoughts – or even provoked them to think about such things for the first time in their lives – on feminism, marriage, and depression; and specifically post-natal depression. It’s not often that I read something and I get the urge to highlight certain quotes, but this 6000 word story had some really great gems and I know that I will come back and re-read this story again and again.

The comments about marriage and this “nervousness” (i.e. depression and anxiety) are spot on and I think these passages still resonate with couples where one partner is going through mental illness and the other just has no clue, but means well.

“I meant to be such a help to John, such a real rest and comfort, and here I am a comparative burden already!

Nobody would believe what an effort it is to do what little I am able, – to dress and entertain, and order things.

It is fortunate Mary is so good with the baby. Such a dear baby!

And yet I CANNOT be with him, it makes me so nervous.”

And this one…

“I cry at nothing, and cry most of the time.

Of course I don’t when John is here, or anybody else, but when I am alone.”

And that damn wallpaper. The descriptions are so evocative, so wonderfully well written and perfect in every way.

“It is dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough to irritate and provoke study, and when you follow the lame uncertain curve for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide – plunge off at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard of contradictions”

And my absolute favourite, which is meant to be about the horrid wallpaper, but I think is really about her mental illness:

“You think you have mastered it, but just as you get well underway in following, it turns a back-somersault and there you are. It slaps you in the face, knocks you down, and tramples upon you. It is like a bad dream.”

I would love to know if you’ve read this story and your thoughts on it!